SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's carbon intensity - the level of carbon emissions per unit of economic growth - fell about 4 percent in the first three quarters of 2017, putting the country on track to meet its five-year targets, a senior official said.
China vowed to cut 2015 levels of carbon intensity by 18 percent by the end of 2020, part of a longer-term pledge to bring total greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by "around 2030".
Li Gao, the head of the climate change office at the National Development and Reform Commission, told a conference that China had made clear progress in decoupling economic growth from CO2.
According to a report published on the website of China's National Energy Administration (NEA) late on Thursday, Li said China was also still aiming to complete the launch of a nationwide carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS).
China's national ETS was originally scheduled to go into operation last year and was then delayed to 2017 as market designers struggled to handle problems like emissions data accuracy.
Xie Zhenhua, China's top climate official, said during recent global climate negotiations in Bonn that the scheme was now awaiting cabinet approval.
Several studies have suggested that China is on track to meet its emissions peak target well ahead of schedule, with Chinese scientists saying in a recent paper in the Resources, Conservation and Recycling journal that China's CO2 could hit its maximum in 2024.
A Chinese think tank has also suggested that national energy consumption - the source of around three quarters of China's carbon emissions - may also have peaked.
(Reporting by David Stanway; editing by Richard Pullin)